California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, Feb. 7.

National candidates' newfound interest in Fresno.
Twitter demands legal fees from Devin Nunes' lawyer.
Scheduling note: The Sun will pause on Monday. Back in your inbox Tuesday.



Oil pumps at the Belridge Oil Field in Kern County.

Universal Images Group via Getty Images

After a monthslong reporting effort, the L.A. Times revealed that fossil fuel companies have saddled California with about 35,000 deserted wells. Each one will cost between $40,000 and $152,000 to cap and dismantle. For each one, the state's largest drillers have set aside an average of $230. That threatens the health of more than 350,000 Californians. L.A. Times


The top EPA official in California suggested he was fired from office on Wednesday because of his congenial relationship with Democratic politicians. "Last time I checked," Mike Stoker said in a statement, "the EPA's mission to protect the public health and environment is not a partisan issue." Noozhawk | S.F. Chronicle

California's ban on chlorpyrifos shrank the market for the controversial pesticide. Now its biggest manufacturer is halting production. Washington Post | L.A. Times


With California voting on Super Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidates are visiting places they used to ignore, like the Inland Empire and Central Valley. For comparison: The political world has been poring over the results from about 170,000 voters in Iowa. Fresno County alone had about 136,000 voters in the 2018 June primary. "California matters now," the N.Y. Times wrote.

Don't get too used to the attention. Below is a map showing how many stops presidential candidates made to each state after the conventions in 2016.


Northern California


Wolf advocates called the death of OR-54 a tragedy.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

An endangered gray wolf that wandered thousands of miles in Northern California in search of a mate has died. The carcass of OR-54, a female about four years of age, was found in Shasta County on Wednesday. It wasn't clear whether she was killed, but another gray wolf was found shot to death in Northern California in 2018. "OR-54 was a beacon of hope who showed that wolves can return and flourish here," a wolf advocate said. "Her death is devastating." Record Searchlight | A.P.


Twitter is demanding legal fees from a lawyer for Rep. Devin Nunes after the Tulare Republican sued to unmask people on the social network who heckle him. Twitter, which is refusing to comply, said a subpoena attempt by the lawyer suffered from "a litany of substantive defects." Fresno Bee | Techdirt

At a White House celebration, President Trump hailed Nunes as a Republican hero of the impeachment hearings. "He's the most legitimate human being," Trump said. Politico | Fresno Bee


Moss Beach, where an affordable housing project has been repeatedly delayed.

via Adobe Stock

After four years and dozens of community meetings, a project to add 76 affordable housing units just south of San Francisco has stalled. One of the most powerful opponents? The local Sierra Club. Some housing advocates have found that surprising, but the environmental group founded by John Muir has faced accusations of NIMBYism for years. It opposed a project in San Francisco a few years ago by citing the scourge of new shadows. Curbed San Francisco


It's fairly common for cities to trade accusations that the other is dumping homeless people in their community. Less common is a local official openly proposing the tactic. Yet that's exactly what Tracy's mayor did at a recent City Council meeting, suggesting homeless people could be bused 17 miles to Stockton. "I mean, it just makes sense," he said. Stockton's mayor called the remarks "pathetic." SFist | CBS13


Southern California


A trainer rode a pair of dolphins at San Diego's SeaWorld in 1995.

Alain Petit/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

SeaWorld said its trainers would no longer ride on the backs of dolphins during shows at the marine park. The move comes a year after PETA began pressuring the company to end "circus-style" behaviors. SeaWorld has faced intense scrutiny since the release of the 2013 documentary "Blackfish," which raised serious questions about the care of its animals. S.D. Union-Tribune


A memorial for Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others killed in a helicopter crash is set for Feb. 24 at Staples Center, the arena where the Lakers star played for most of his 20 seasons. The date — 2/24 — corresponds with his jersey number, 24, and that of his daughter, 13-year-old Gianna, who wore No. 2. A.P. | L.A. Times


Netflix's “The Irishman” is nominated for 10 Academy Awards.

Mike Marsland/WireImage

On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Kenneth Turan, L.A. Times and NPR film critic, about Hollywood on the eve of the Oscars. The industry is about to be eaten by Netflix, Turan said. "The studios have more or less abandoned the adult audience. And that's one of the things that gave the streaming services an opening." California Sun Podcast

Who will win, and who should win. Here are The Hollywood Reporter's predictions for Sunday.

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California the beautiful


The Stahl House in the Hollywood Hills.

East Coast — ivy-covered brick, formal spaces, brownstone stoops. West Coast — walls of windows, pergolas, outdoor rooms. California not only thinks different than other places, it looks different.

While the state's design aesthetic is no one thing — formed as it is by a diverse collection of actors — certain themes appear. Simon Sadler, a professor of design at U.C. Davis, has described a "culture of connection" expressed in works like the Golden Gate Bridge, Pacific Coast Highway, and the open style of typical California homes.

If some architectural traditions treat structures as objects, California design, Sadler argues, is preoccupied with creating relationships. It's active. It aims less to draw attention to itself than to attune to a living whole. We don't do monuments, Sadler says. "We do nodes."

Or as the California architect William Wurster memorably put it: "Architecture is for life and pleasure and work and for people. The picture frame, not the picture."

It's a sensibility that has increasingly spilled across state lines with the ascendance of the California brand, notably in technology. Look around the world, the late historian Kevin Starr once told me. "Places like New Zealand, Australia, Argentina — they are all beginning to increasingly look like California."

Below, structures in Sea Ranch, Palo Alto, and Los Angeles.

Alain Pinel Realtors


In case you missed it


Gold Rush miners, circa 1850s.

Five items that got big views over the past week:

Should the 49ers reconsider their name? "Through the indiscriminate use of terrorism and murder, California's 49ers carried out one of the most successful ... campaigns of ethnic cleansing the world has ever seen." The Atlantic
On this week in 2001 San Francisco awoke to find a red Volkswagen Beetle dangling by a cable from the underside of the Golden Gate Bridge. Maclean's magazine
Is the California exodus real? According to Census data, the state ranks in the bottom three for proportional departure rates. CityLab
Amtrak's California Zephyr leaves from the Bay Area, cuts across the checkerboard Central Valley, winds through lush Sierra forests, then pauses in the old railway town of Truckee. Trains & Travel
In a stunning reversal, prosecutors dropped all charges against a Newport Beach surgeon and his girlfriend who were accused of being prolific sexual predators. Daily Pilot

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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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